How to Choose a Plumber

Published July 20, 2012

Your sink is clogged and your toilet is completely falling apart. Who do you call?

We’ve all been there and usually it happens on the weekend or in the evening.

Choosing the right plumber can avoid costly mistakes and future visits. The key is to ask the right questions and get references if possible.

Calling a professional will not only increase the chance of full satisfaction but in the long run will provide a large cost savings if the job is done right.

The number one thing to do is to make sure the Plumbing company that you call is fully licensed and insured. Too many people make the mistake of calling the first plumber in the phonebook. Just because they are in the book doesn’t mean they are qualified and insured. There are a lot of “handymen” out there that do plumbing work on the side. It’s best to make sure they are licensed and insured.

In a plumbing emergency, it’s crucial to call upon someone who actually knows what they are doing. The license is your guaranty that the company has met all requirements for training and professionalism. The insurance is the company’s way of saying that if anything goes wrong they will cover it.

Secondly, it’s a good idea to get a written estimate before the work begins. This is not always possible when you are in a lurch, but it still is a good idea to know where you are going before you get there. An experienced plumber should be able to tell you a rough estimate of what replacement parts cost and what other options you may have. This is especially important if you are dealing with a large item such as a water heater.

Another important point to keep in mind is to look for a plumber who has a fully stocked truck with him when he arrives.  A large proportion of plumbing jobs may be completed on-site and therefore will save you the cost of a return trip.

When your plumber arrives, it’s a good idea to ask him/her what the estimated time frame is for completion. Nowadays these trades people are extremely busy and your job could get low priority. Set a completion date and hold them to it.

Lastly, never pay for the job upfront. It is reasonable for the plumber to expect a percentage of pay ahead of the job, however the majority can be paid at the end of the completed work. Go over the written invoice with the plumber to know exactly what it is you are paying for.